RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service John Paul II’s Road to Sainthood Reaches Marker With `Miracle’ Healing VATICAN CITY (RNS) The leading advocate for John Paul II’s sainthood has identified the mysterious recovery of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease as the potential miracle that could advance the late pope’s candidacy. In an interview with Italian state radio on Sunday (Jan. 29), Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the “postulator” or lead advocate of John Paul’s cause, said he has focused his investigation on the case of a French nun who “had been cured of a sickness, a sickness that became very visible in the final phase of John Paul’s life.” In his final years, John Paul struggled publicly with a debilitating case of Parkinson’s that caused him to lose muscular control and slur his speech. Oder declined to name the nun, but identified her as a health care worker in a maternity ward at a French hospital.

COMMENTARY: A Quick Guide to Finding the Perfect House (of Worship)

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “Why isn’t there someone, like a real estate agent, who can help me find a church?” Hmmm. What a good idea. After all, finding a church isn’t all that different from shopping for a house. A lot of the same issues come into play: the reasons for looking in the first place, square footage and floor plans, the neighborhood and schools, do-it-yourself potential and, of course, the price.

COMMENTARY: Israelis Warned Bush About Potential for Hamas Victory

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The Hamas victory in the Palestinian election entitles Israeli leaders to one loud, long “I told you so.” Even as President Bush was pushing for early elections as part of his drive to democratize the Muslim Middle East _ and pouring some $2 million in cash into the campaign coffers of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization _ Israelis were warning Washington it might not care for the outcome. Fatah was not ready, they warned; Abbas sent the same signal. It was badly divided and on the defensive over corruption and poor social services. “What do the Israelis know?” was the Bush reaction.

Muslim Girls Hoop It Up in Hijabs

c. 2006 Religion News Service SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. _ Each afternoon before basketball practice, Hiba Hussain swaps her regular polyester Muslim head scarf for a cotton one. The cotton better absorbs sweat as she hustles down the court, scurries for rebounds and dives for loose balls. Hiba, 15, is a point guard for the state’s only girls basketball team from an Islamic school. The players at Noor-Ul-Iman School in South Brunswick compete while wearing head scarves _ called hijabs _ long sleeves and sweat pants.

FILM REVIEW _ `La Petite Jerusalem’: A Film About a `Nice Jewish Girl’ and the Agony of

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) To some eyes, perhaps, Laura is the stereotypical image of the nice Jewish girl. She studies hard in college, holds down a work-study job on campus and picks up extra money tutoring. She lives at home with her mother, older sister, brother-in-law, and four rambunctious nieces and nephews. She dresses modestly, doesn’t date, curse or use drugs _ what’s not to like?

God and taxes

Quote of the Day: University of Alabama Law Professor Susan Pace Hamill “Faith in Christ isn’t just about waiting for him to take you to the promised land at the end of time. It’s also about being his steward on Earth during your life until such time.” -Susan Pace Hamill, tax expert at the University of Alabama School of Law, who wrote a biblical interpretation of Alabama’s tax code during her studies at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham. She was quoted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Muslim girls playing basketball; and Jewish girls assimilating

In Monday’s RNS report Jeff Diamant writes about a team of Muslim girls who play high school basketball. There are fewer than a half-dozen girls basketball teams at Islamic schools in the country: Each afternoon before basketball practice, Hiba Hussain swaps her regular polyester Muslim head scarf for a cotton one. The cotton better absorbs sweat as she hustles down the court, scurries for rebounds and dives for loose balls. Hiba, 15, is a point guard for New Jersey’s only girls basketball team from an Islamic school. The players at Noor-Ul-Iman School in South Brunswick compete while wearing head scarves-called hijabs-long sleeves and sweat pants.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Giuliani Praises Evangelical Pastors for `Saving People’ (RNS) In the category of politics creating strange bedfellows, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told evangelical pastors that he appreciates their efforts at “saving people … and bringing them to Jesus.” Giuliani, a Roman Catholic who supports gay rights and abortion rights, was a surprise keynote speaker Wednesday (Jan. 25) at a gathering of nearly 2,000 evangelical pastors and ministry leaders in Orlando, Fla. The “Billion Soul” Pastors’ Conference was sponsored by the Global Pastors’ Network, which has a campaign under way “to win 1 billion people to Christ worldwide over the next 10 years.” Giuliani spoke about the lessons of leadership he learned as New York’s mayor during the Sept.

COMMENTARY: In Defense of a Once-Violent Tribe Depicted in Film

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Israel has thousands of articulate defenders, hence the many critical essays about Steven Spielberg’s characterization of Israeli agents in his new film, “Munich.” But the Waodani, the once-murderous South American tribe portrayed in “End of the Spear,” lack such international support. So let me offer a partial defense on their behalf. “End of the Spear” tells the story of five young missionaries who were killed by the Waodani in 1956 and the relationship that developed between the two cultures in the years since. In 1974, I traveled in South America in search of adventure and self-realization.

The `Chocolate Pope’s’ Love Affair With Cacao

c. 2006 Beliefnet (UNDATED) David Wolfe recalls eating his first fresh cacao bean _ the natural form of chocolate _ while visiting friends in Hawaii many years ago. “My friend said, `Have you eaten one of these?’ And as soon as I crunched into it, the cacao god downloaded me the truth about cacao beans in a millisecond,” he said. Wolfe, 35, a raw food expert who resides in Southern California, Manhattan, and Toronto, has degrees in mechanical and environmental engineering and political science.

Top-notch chicken wings

Quote of the Day: Monsignor Isidore Rozycki, Catholic priest “I look it as a very fun place. … You forget about the tensions and stress of daily life and get an opportunity to laugh with friends. And it’s great food.” -Monsignor Isidore Rozycki, a Catholic priest, explaining why he blessed a new Hooters restaurant in Waco, Texas, despite concerns by 60 local ministers about waitresses who wear tight tops and short skirts.

A Pope Focused on Changing His Church, Not the World

c. 2006 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY _ On any given week, the oval contours of St. Peter’s Square swell with tens of thousands of banner-waving pilgrims, gathered to hear Pope Benedict XVI preach in a monotone, high-tenor voice. The German pontiff does not have the commanding presence of his Polish predecessor, John Paul II, but his message of conservative values and fundamental truths resonates on the cobblestones. Benedict has decisively brought the papacy back to Rome after decades of globe-trotting under John Paul.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Mormon Church President, 95, Treated for Cancer in Intestine (RNS) Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is said to be resting comfortably, after undergoing treatment for a cancerous condition, a church spokeswoman announced Wednesday (Jan. 25). Hinckley, 95, had a routine medical screening, during which doctors found a “cancerous growth in his large intestine,” the church announced in a statement issued Tuesday (Jan. 24).

When Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Or maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. A Catholic church in NW Indiana has to pay $100,000 to clean up its rectory after its old pastor was apparently trying to recreate Noah’s Ark with a host of dogs, cats and guinea pigs. The problem, however, is that the priest never cleaned up after them. The Northwest Indiana News has the story here.